The hare saw something bright that he liked, so as the man slept at night the hare crept into the roundhouse and stole it. On waking the man realised that his soul was gone, he searched everywhere desperately and asked other members of his clan whether they had seen it, but no one had. He searched the forest and the hills with his horse and watched from a distance the men from Rome in case they had stolen it, but he could not see it. He knew that life would soon fade without his soul and worried that an eagle had taken it and flown off, but he could not fly. The man became frantic and, in his despair, began to dig into the earth, he dug, and he dug a great tunnel to look for his soul.
Eventually he came upon a dark chamber in which a great hare sat upon a chair made of sticks with his soul cradled in his arms. On seeing the man the hare decided to give him his soul back as the light was fading anyway and he did not want a dead soul cluttering up his warren. The man climbed back up, but on reaching the surface and once again seeing the sky, he realised that he had become a ghost, the light in his soul had gone out. The ghost desperately wanted to become a man again and looked around for something to enter that was warm and alive but the only thing he found was a hare and though it made him sick, he entered it. After a while he found being a hare wasn’t enough and it made him sad.
One day the man’s ghost from within the hare saw a person walk by and was dazzled by the light of it’s soul,
I must have that, he thought to himself.
There was a god who every once in a while, liked to come down from heaven, he liked to walk amongst the world of men to remind himself why he was there. For with all the pleading the praying and the beseeching he would regularly forget his own humility and begin to enjoy himself and his brilliance as it shone in the eyes of mankind.
So, he would come down and walk as a man amongst the pain and the death, the wars and the disasters to see why the frailness of their bodies gave strength to their faith.
One day though the god decided he did not wish to see any more death, the truth is in that moment he was bored of it all, but as there was no one to tell, the god did not think it mattered. For a change, he took the decision to walk in the big city. It was all very odd and after looking here and there he walked into a great gallery of art to find some peace. He found silence and a strange intensity he had never thought man capable of. The god looked at picture after picture of himself and felt a secret satisfaction and thought ‘of course the intensity I feel is faith’.
Then the god turned and walked into a simple white space at the end of which, it stood, he saw it and stopped, it was beautiful. How can man make such a thing? god thought, he stood in front of the shining thing and the shining thing looked back. For the briefest of moments, the god realised this was not a creation of their love for him but pure imagination. Then he was gone.
There was no god, he had never been, his heaven and his angels had never entered the minds of men. Churches were never built and wars were never fought, millions of people appeared and history grew like a tree filling the gaps left by despair.
The question is, was he ever there? In that gallery, a god having his only ever moment of doubt.
Danial Drake had a demon who lived in the lower basement rooms of his London bookshop. The first time the demon and he met it was obviously a shock, but the demon was courteous, apologised for the imposition and explained his presence. Danial had to sit down as he listened to the explanation his heart thumping, but the demon’s reasons were so understandable, and he made his case so well that Danial soon felt at ease, and they sat and talked for several hours before Danial had to finally shut up shop and leave for his home in Hampstead Heath, leaving the demon with a lamp a blanket a pot of tea and biscuits and several hundred books.
The demon and Danial came to a good arrangement; the demon could occupy the lower basement rooms, as long as he stayed there during the day and did not disturb the bookshop’s business, he was true to his word. Somehow, he never needed the key when he ventured upstairs at night seeking a particular-volume on this or that. it also helped that demons could see in the dark, for when he would come upstairs at night the sight of a torch flicking in and out of the shelves of a West End bookshop would be sure to raise the concerns of a passing police constable.
Danial always kept the basement locked, as his most precious volumes were down there as well as his own antiquarian collection, thus his two youthful assistants George and Robert never found out what lay beneath their feet. It was locked when he first found the demon and this magic on top of myth had of course added to the shock when they first met. Despite the odd situation Danial and the Demon, who never mentioned his name, got on well, they spoke many times and discussed at length the philosophies and discoveries within the books, papers and periodicals that surrounded them. With a pot of tea, biscuits, the street light shining through the glass bricks above them, the electric lamp and two blankets for warmth the odd pair found pleasure in each other’s intellect and humour.
One evening though the demon seemed a little sad, his wings seemed at a slight melancholy angle, and the mouth of his goat shaped face turned down at the edges. Danial always sensitive to those around him did not ask the reason but made a good attempt to cheer the demon with ribald stories and a little best brandy added to the tea as he was worried the demon had caught a chill living in his basement. Though it was not long before the strange creature had cheered, and with his mood greatly lifted the two were soon laughing at Mr Gilbert’s parodies and grotesques of the music hall. As he went to leave that evening Danial turned toward the demon and said with a friendly smile ‘Good night my friend, sleep well’, the demon lifted his head and smiled broadly back, he paused, ‘thank you Danial’ it was the first time he had said his name.
That night there was an odd feeling in the pit of the bookseller’s stomach as he got home. He got up a little earlier the next day and on reaching the shop found the Demon gone, the blanket lay folded neatly on the chair in the basement and on top a small red volume he didn’t recognise, he picked it up, something told him not to look inside, Danial put it into his coat pocket.
He would miss his odd friend.
The Macaw had eaten well that day and he’d had his fill of crunching down on the fruits and seeds of the verdant jungle that was his home and was now engaging in his second favourite pastime of sleeping it off in the canopy high above the ground and the dangers below. He was a beautiful creature and knew it, his blue and red feathers shone in the dappled light from the leaves around him, his muscles were strong and his great beak and claws polished, and as with all birds even though he was young, he was wise. Thus, the Macaw always kept one eye half opened as he slept, a most useful talent in the jungle, so it was a great disappointment to him when his peaceful slumber was disturbed by the monkey.
First, he felt him, his jarring clumsiness through the branch of the tree, then he could smell him, monkey, if you know what I mean, so the Macaw opened one eye and there he was balanced on the branch right next to him, staring in that uncouth, demanding way monkeys do.
‘Why are you in my tree?’ The monkey exclaimed waving a bony wrinkled finger at the McCaw in an accusing manner. The McCaw opened both eyes and looked indignantly at the rude creature in front of him. ‘I’m sorry?’ replied the McCaw ‘your tree?’,’ Yes! My tree’ said the monkey’. He was one of those particularly irritating monkeys, the thin, shivery sort whose eyes were too close together and looked like an old human. ‘All these trees are mine’. The McCaw sighed ‘This tree belongs to no-one’ the McCaw said, ‘In fact this tree only belongs to itself, and it was kind enough to let me rest here, until of course you came along’ The McCaw really could not help the sarcasm. ‘I don’t care, this is my tree! And I want you gone, or I shall go and get my monkey brothers and we shall evict you!’ the shivery, wrinkled finger danced in front the McCaw’s polished beak once again, the temptation to bite down onto monkey digit was overwhelming. Then as he looked down in dismay the McCaw saw something through the tangle of the trees branches.
‘You see that stripy fellow down there’, the monkey followed the McCaw’s eyes downward and saw a tiger sleeping peacefully, his belly was obviously full of food as well. ‘What about it?’ asked the monkey, ‘well’ the McCaw drew close to the curious monkey ‘he said it was his tree’. There was a pause whilst the monkey looked first at the tiger, worried, then back at the McCaw and with a spiteful scowl the monkey was gone swinging down toward the jungle floor.
The McCaw watched the monkey with amusement as the stupid, spindly creature walked slowly and mechanically up to the sleeping tiger. He kept looking nervously upward through the tree but finally found himself standing before the huge solid head of the great slumbering cat. The monkey hesitated took a deep breath, then in an over exaggerated manner began to dance and wave his arms threateningly toward the tiger, all the time pointing that ridiculous, wrinkled finger. The McCaw found the whole thing quite amusing and so very monkey, it would have been impressive if the monkey hadn’t been trying to be so silent whilst dancing and throwing himself about.
Then the monkey stopped, turned away from the tiger and breathing hard from his exertions, looked up defiantly toward where he knew the McCaw sat perched. Then with one smooth movement the tiger stood up stretched his thick neck, wrapped his jaws around the unsuspecting monkey and after chewing on his snack for a while turned and padded off into the jungle.
The McCaw Smiled a beaky smile to himself. For as every wise McCaw knows you never wave a wrinkled finger of any sort close to a sleeping tiger’s whiskers.
He closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
Mammon Inc. the infamous and ridiculously rich empire spread its web of influence and ownership from the top most rooms of the great Mammon tower, Mr Mammon himself the owner and lifelong self-appointed CEO had the offices turned into a penthouse with only the superficial pretence of office, a small desk in the corner of a beech panelled utility room with an equally small fax machine and a pen he felt gave credence. Mr Mammon, his real name, had only one love, money, everything else was lust, and he learned long ago that money could allow him to indulge his passion for lust. Mr Mammon owned everyone and everything, he took what he wanted, and destroyed what he could not have. He learned that the mere presence of money would twist people’s ethics and make the most honest of souls do the strangest things, they would sell themselves and burn their Bibles, they would kill their husbands, and their friends, and even their children.
In order to fund this individual power Mammon had a portfolio of dozens of businesses many blue chip and all flying high in the market, but underneath the veneer of, quotes, success, there was massive laundering that led to every kind of vice and the propping up of several corrupt governments. Mr Mammon was darkness itself. Though Mr Mammon was also corruption in another way, to look at him was unpleasant for everyone that met him. Decades of over indulgence and greed had taken its toll on his body and his face, the man had become the wretched physical embodiment of his bloated empire.
Now, there is only one creature that can rival man in such infamy and that is the rat, but the rat is unaware of the harm it does and that is the one big and important difference. Rats are clever and resourceful creatures and are great climbers and one such clever, resourceful rat climbed to the very top of Mammon tower to look for a home. Here he lived behind the luxurious panels and the expensive skirting of the penthouse and fed on the leftovers as the bloated CEO of Mammon Inc. slept off another vast, rich meal.
Every day through holes in the skirting here and there the rat became witness to the life of his reclusive host, he saw more of this mythical man’s life than any other living thing. The tiny creature saw the manipulation, the firings, the abuse, the childlike outbursts, the payoffs, the gross indulgence and god forbid the rapes.
It was after one such terrible episode, and after the men had come in to take the poor, bruised, sobbing and beaten young woman away that the little rat became curious. He didn’t know why but once it had become quiet, he squeezed through a little hole in the skirting and skittered across the marble flooring avoiding several patches of the woman’s blood on the way to the bed where Mammon’s vast bulk lay. He stopped, looked up, sniffed the air then clambered up the pure silk sheets and found himself next to the sweat covered head of Mr Mammon. The rat sat for some time thinking rat thoughts, then slowly he moved forward and bit Mammon on the ear, he did it several times, sinking his sharp, needle like incisors deep into the soft, pink flesh, he spat and bit again. The huge fat man rolled his head and moaned but amazingly he did not wake. The rat stepped back, he seemed to be admiring his work as the crimson blood began to flow freely, and as the rapist slept on the rat ran back silently to his hole.
Three months later Mr Mammon CEO and owner of Mammon Inc. died in hospital of an unknown animal bite. For the twelve proceeding weeks he had suffered terribly, but whatever had bitten him it had done its work well. His blood had become horribly poisoned, and as his organs failed one after another. He screamed, swore and pleaded at the doctors around him, but they could do nothing.
So, we must ask ourselves, the little rat, was he just hungry? and did he see the vast, recumbent, pig like form of Mammon as some sort of food, or had the little creature somehow taken in all the pain and fear that he had witnessed from Mammon’s victims within that dark penthouse, so much nothing to an avaricious, empty soul, and decided to take back something in payment.
Who knows, I never will?